Singapore’s first woman general has taken on a role with the labour movement as deputy chief executive of e2i, the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute.
Ms Gan Siow Huang, 45, joined e2i in April after leaving the Singapore Armed Forces, and is expected to be fielded as a People's Action Party (PAP) candidate at the coming general election.
The former air force officer told The Straits Times in a phone interview yesterday: "After more than 20 years (in service), I felt that I was ready to move on, to take on new challenges and contribute to the community in other ways - this time, in the economic area."
Ms Gan made history in 2015 when she became the first woman brigadier-general.
In her role at e2i, she is in charge of the strategic and enabler group, which works with unions, employers and the Government to improve employment for Singaporeans.
Ms Gan said she decided to join NTUC because its mission of helping Singaporeans get better jobs for better lives resonated with her.
"The labour movement is made up of workers across different industries, and by being part of e2i and the labour movement, I would be able to have a good feel of employment and employability issues faced by Singaporeans," she added.
Ms Gan was a speaker at a virtual career symposium organised by NTUC's youth wing yesterday.
There, she shared e2i's initiatives and talked about the challenges young job seekers face in the current economic climate.
"There is anxiety and uncertainty about whether they can get a job, and a job they like - I suppose this concern has always been there, even pre-Covid-19, but it has been exacerbated because many businesses have been disrupted and we are expecting a recession.
"It is natural for the young adults to be concerned... but there is a lot of collective help that is available," she said, citing the initiatives to create jobs and training opportunities, and urging young workers to keep an open mind.
Ms Gan was also appointed chief commissioner of the Girl Guides Singapore last month, after more than seven years as a volunteer.
She has recently been active in grassroots activities in Bishan, including at food distribution.
She said: "Our current focus continues to be supporting residents. There is a lot of work that needs to be done (and) I'm glad to be... able to serve the community in Bishan."